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David Bowie and Performativity - Research Paper Example

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She coined the name in her attempt at illustrating the reasoning behind the emergence of gender. According to Judith Butler, performativity is people’s daily behavior, which establishes a routine that ends up creating and defining gender…
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David Bowie and Performativity
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"David Bowie and Performativity"

Download file to see previous pages This paper aims to analyze a song by David Bowie using Butler’s theory of gender performance. The essay aims at developing an argument referring to David Bowie’s song titled “Rebel, Rebel” from his album Diamond Dogs. The argument is going to be based on how the song represents gender, sexuality and identity. It is also going to analyze how Bowie challenges narratives of authentic identity. Bowie’s ways of troubling gender and sexuality as stable, readable, and expressive categories are also going to be addressed. According to Butler, gender is not based on a stable identity but an identity that is constitutively created through time and molded through repetition (Leonard 134). This repetition of deeds has a set of meanings that are already established in society.
Gender reality is a product of performativity, which means that its degree of realness is measured by the extent of the performance. In this context, some acts are interpreted as an expression of gender identity. These acts can either conform to the expected cultural norms or contradict these norms. The song “Rebel, Rebel” by David Bowie is about a boy who went against his parent’s wishes and started wearing girl’s clothes and make up. Additionally, in the same album, there is a song titled “Walk on the Wild Side” about a transvestite. ...
In all the live stage performances of this song, Bowie is dressed in outrageous feminine clothes. This aspect of staging artistic shows where the established distinction between genders was overlooked led to the emergence of Glam. Glam is a controversial stage performance and presentation of artistry that incorporates gender-bending techniques (Leonard 150). It also included the depiction of drag queens and personalities in different levels of conveying the underlying undertones in their performances. Bowie appearing in drag as Ziggy Stardust portrays this in the song. The song “Rebel, Rebel” conveys the notion that gender is not a static phenomenon as exhibited by the glam and drag modes of staging live artistic shows. The song tries to establish the fact that gender is a state that is achieved through change in behavioral mannerisms rather than a static set inbuilt qualities. According to Judith Butler, gender is an achievable state that is acquired through practice and repetition. Unlike common belief that a person is born into a specified and predetermined gender dictated by their biological sex, gender is perceived as a cultural dictate. This means that at one point in time, the human society decided to assign status to people. There was no other better way to do this than create a distinction between male and female roles. This spawned what is today referred to as gender. The society then designed roles that were assigned specific acts or behavior patterns that acted as a measure of gender. The song by Bowie seeks to depict gender as something that is not tangible but an idea that is held by people. Through repetition, as described by Butler, the notion of gender is realised through performativity. This is in the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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